Thursday, September 13, 2007

5 Ways to Understand and Read RSS

RSS Readers There still seems to be some confusion over RSS, what is it and how do I start utilizing it?

A simplified method of explaining this is:
  • RSS is a web format that enables you to get the most current stories from your favorite websites and blogs easily. They are delivered to you as soon as new material is published.

Now in order for you to start utilizing this you must subscribe to a sites feed.RSS button

Often you'll see the "subscribe to our feed" button somewhere on a website, what this means is that you want to subscribe to that sites latest news and posts. So simply click the subscribe button and add it to your reader or start page!

What is a reader/ startpage? Often times I'm asked which reader I use or what start pages can integrate social sites, email etc. There are a lot of different readers out there for use, yes they are free to use as well! In past posts I have mentioned some really cool start pages, here I want to update that list!

  • Google Homepage: one of my favorites for its clean interface, dynamic themes and nifty auto-populate options!

  • Netvibes: I've reviewed them before and it looks as if they've upgraded their services since I last checked. Netvibes upgrades are self described as the "super-personalized homepage", upgrades include a reader with multimedia capabilities, instant sharing functionality, a great "Getting started" link which is perfect for newbies, over 30 languages, a number of different themes and wallpapers, and mobile capabilities!

  • PageFlakes: Yet another top contender reviewed them before who have also upgraded their services. New upgrades, also known as 'Pageflakes Blizzard' introduces new social networking functionality, plus different themes which are highly customizable, personal profiles which allows for better networking and information sharing plus there are a ton more "flakes" and you can now listen to podcasts, videos and audio utilizing their multimedia flake!

  • Protopage: This is a new one I came across, its got a very "fun" look to it. It's bubbly, simple click and drag organization, big tabs and big pop-up windows that display information relating to tabs, widgets and more. Not as customizable as other startpages, but still useful.

  • 24eyes: Here you have a "one stop shop solution" for news feeds at your finger tips. I thinks its awesome to immediately get bombarded with information in arranged tabs, sectioned off groups and easy to navigate interface. If you have no clue as to what feeds you might want to subscribed to here you can automatically be fed a number of news feeds at once. I would reference it in the future, but since it lack the "customizable" features I've come to love with other start pages, I wouldn't necessarily use this as my only start page/reader of choice.

So if you've been unsure of how to use RSS or to subscribe to sites feeds, I hope to have cleared up some of those lingering questions. One of the start pages listed above should get you started with utilizing RSS in a "user friendly" simplified way. If you haven't jumped on the RSS bandwagon now is your big shot, subscribe to our blog, your local newspaper, your favorite news site! All will be displayed in one simple page for your reading pleasure!